Thursday, January 19, 2017

Turnip cake / pudding aka Loh bak goh

It's nearly that time of the year again ! 

I really need to start my spring cleaning .......

Chinese around the world are busy preparing for their most important festival , the Chinese New Year which will start on January 28th . Mention Chinese New Year and what immediately comes to mind is food ! Okay , lai-see packets as well lol 

Many foods consumed during Chinese New Year are symbolic . Loh bak goh , Cantonese for steamed turnip cake or pudding is an auspicious food which symbolizes good fortune , a must-have in most Cantonese households during this festival . Basically made with grated radish / turnip , rice flour and Chinese sausages , mixture is steamed then serve pan-fried .

Making this yum cha staple is pretty easy but grating the radish takes patience .  As I love to eat it during the winter season , grating more than a kilo of turnip / radish is like a walk in the park or library to me hee hee ! 

If you want to try it , make the half recipe I listed below , you can adjust the seasoning according to preference . The trick to make it easy to unmould the cake / pudding especially if you using an aluminium cake pan is to grease it generously with oil , if using a 6-inch pan , use about 2 teaspoons of oil .

I fried the steamed cake/ pudding 2 ways - the first one is the usual way , cut into squares and pan-fried both sides until golden brown . The other version is to cut the cake into small cubes , pan-fried until brown and crispy then XO sauce is added . XO sauce is a condiment made from dried seafoods like scallops , shrimps and fish and usually use for stir fry dishes .

Recipe adapted from 必學的中西節日美食 = Festive delicacies / [黎楊惠玲作].

Grease one 22-cm square tin ( with 2-inch height ) or two 20 x 10-cm loaf tins or one 22-cm round tin ( with 3-inch height ) or two 15-cm round tins

1.2 kg turnip / radish
3 ( 120 grams )  Chinese sausages
30 grams dried shrimps
5 dried mushrooms
1 tablespoon ginger juice ( squeezed from about 40 grams grated fresh ginger )
1 tablespoon Chinese wine
300 grams rice flour
40 grams wheat flour
800 ml water ( including juice from drained grated turnip ) divided

Seasoning : 

3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Garnishes :

1 stalk coriander
1 stalk spring onion
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

* Soak dried shrimps and dried mushrooms until soft , cut into small dices . Rinse and steam Chinese sausages over high heat for 5 minutes , let cool down a bit before cutting into small dices . Wash and dice spring onions and coriander .

* Wash , peel and grate turnip . Strain the juice and add water to make 400 ml , set aside .

* Sift rice flour and wheat flour in a mixing bowl and add in 400 ml water , mix until batter is lump-free and smooth .

* In a large pan , heat 1 tbsp oil , stir-fry diced sausages , mushrooms and shrimps . Transfer sausage mixture into the bowl with batter , stir to combine , set aside .

* In the same pan , add in the drained turnip and pour in the 400 ml turnip juice mixture , add in seasoning and cook , covered , for 5 to 8 minutes . Add in ginger juice and wine , mix well to combine , pour in the batter , mix and adjust taste , keep stirring until mixture thickens .

* Pour in the batter mixture into the greased tin(s) , smooth the top . Steam over high heat for 30-40 minutes . Take out from the wok and let cool down to room temperature ( it'll take several hours )  , ran a small knife gently around the sides of the pan and unmould the cake . Transfer into a serving plate , top with diced spring onions and coriander , sprinkle with sesame seeds . Cool turnip cake until firm .

* Cut into slices , pan-fry both sides until golden brown . Serve hot with chilli sauce or hoisin sauce .

* For fried turnip with XO sauce : Cut loh bak goh into 2 to 3-cm cubes , fry pieces until golden brown and the surface is crispy . Wipe off excess oil and add in 1 tbsp XO ( adjust amount according to preference and quantity of the pudding ) stir until pieces are evenly coated , add in some diced spring onion . Dish up and garnish with more diced spring onion and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds . Serve hot .

My half recipe : Makes one 6 x ( about ) 3-inch steamed cake 

588 grams ( peeled weight ) white turnip / radish
2 Chinese sausage
3 dried mushrooms
15 grams dried shrimps
2 teaspoons ginger juice
1 teaspoon Chinese wine
400 ml water ( radish juice included )
150 grams rice flour
20 grams wheat flour

Seasoning : 2 tsps raw sugar , 1/2 tsp sea salt , 1/2 tsp chicken powder , 1/2 tsp sesame oil and a generous dash of ground white pepper

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baked matcha soufflé pancakes

Happy New Year , all !!! 

Better late than never , right ?! lol 

I've been deliciously-bombarded with lots of photos of thick pancakes on my newsfeed since last year as I haven't had homemade pancakes in years , why not try to make it ?! I've checked several recipes online and thought , who wants to pan-fry pancakes for more than 15 minutes ?! Definitely not me ! 

I stumbled upon one recipe that is baked and I'm pretty sure pancake purists are rolling their eyes hee hee ! Of course , unlike the same ol' same ol pancake recipe where you just combine everything together , quick-fry the batter and lo and behold , breakfast is ready ! This baked version though is a bit time-consuming and too much utensils to wash afterwards *sigh* 

But hey , no pain , no gain lol 

This Japanese café-style pancake is more like a chiffon cake but tastes almost like a steamed cake , moist , soft and jiggly . It doesn't look like much in the photos and on its own , a bit bland but served with good quality honey , butter , of course and some fresh sweet fruits , no wonder these pancakes are selling like hotcakes , no pun intended hee hee !

I used 2 sizes of moulds here ( I only listed one size below for reference ) and depending on how you make the batter , not over mixing it ( I'm talking to you , self ! Ha ! )  the texture and thickness may vary , see photo below . The tallest one that I made is almost 3-inches tall but a bit thinner than almost the 2-inch one . Click the link below for a detailed instructions and tips .

Recipe adapted from Washoku Guide

Makes 3 pancakes 

2 ( 64 grams each ) eggs , separated , at room temperature
20 grams sugar
40 grams milk
10 grams butter
30 grams cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 grams Matcha powder

* Lightly grease 3 ( 3 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch ) mousse moulds and line sides with parchment papers ( parchment should be 1-inch higher than the mould ) . Place moulds onto a baking sheet .

* Combine butter and milk in a small bowl , melt over a pan of hot water , keep warm .

* Preheat oven to 180ºC with the prepared moulds inside , this to prevent the batter from leaking  from the mould when you pour it .

* Beat egg whites until frothy , add in sugar in one go , whisk until stiff peaks form  , set aside .

* In another bowl , whisk yolks until pale and creamy , mix in melted butter and whisk until mixture is frothy . Sift in cake flour , baking powder and matcha and lightly mix until combined .

* Add in the meringue in 3 batches , fold in lightly with a whisk or a spatula and mix until batter becomes smooth . Take out the moulds from the oven and pour in the batter evenly .

* Bake for 20 minutes . When done , take out from the oven and drop from a height of about 8 inches to remove trapped air . Remove pancakes from the mould and serve hot . Best served with a pat of butter , honey and fresh fruits .